Tomás Galipienzo Pelarda

Born March 6, 1897 in Cascante (Navarra)

Professed August 15, 1914

Ordained May 21, 1921

Shot September 1, 1936 in Paterna (Valencia)


Father Tomás Galipienzo was born on March 6, 1897, in the historic town of Cascante (Navarra), where he was baptized the same day in the parish of the Assumption of the Diocese of Tarazona. He received his Confirmation on June 17, 1898, by the Bishop of the Diocese.  His parents were Don Valentín Galipienzo and Mrs. Margarita Pelarda. When he was four, he was orphaned when his father died. At school he was a model of application and behavior, so the teacher would set him an example. During his childhood he was an altar boy and since then he has expressed his vocation to be a priest, as confirmed by his companions of that time. When your mother asked you, what are you going to be? He always answered: friar. At eleven years old, he entered the Postulancy of Barbastro in 1908, and studied Humanities with gusto.

On August 14, 1912, he began the Novitiate in Cervera under the leadership of Fr. Ramón Ribera. At that time, 6 individuals from Cascante were found in Cervera, among them Nicasio Sierra, a martyr in Barbastro. At the end of the year, he made his First Profession on August 15, 1913.  That same year, he began the study of Philosophy in the same house of Cervera. Here, after completing the second year in Philosophy, he received Tonsure on July 18, 1915. In the same Center he finished the Philosophy program and began studies in Theology.

During 1917, and the first quarter of 1918, he had to face the problem of the military, putting his mother in search for paperwork. In the end, while in Cervera, he alleged two impediments, the arm and the sight of the left eye. He was declared totally useless for military service because of his left arm that had broken playing ball before entering the Postulancy.

On July 23, 1919, he moved to Alagón to study Moral Theology. In that city, the following month, on the 29th, he received the first two Minor Orders and in December of the same year, the remaining two Orders. On May 29, 1920, in Zaragoza, he received the Subdiaconate. In Alagón, on September 26, of that year received the Diaconate and May 21, 1921, he was ordained to the Priesthood in Saragossa.

At the beginning of July 1921, he traveled to Aranda de Duero to take the course of preparation for the ministry. In the middle of the month of May of the following year he made a trip back to Alagón. There he continued as professor of Latin and geography teaching the postulants.

The dedication of Fr. Galipienzo was seen in his preaching for which he was assigned to Cartagena with the office of community Minister, where he arrived on October 13, 1923. His ordinary occupation would be the estate of the Marquesa de Fuente González, sister-in-law of the Count of Romanones, a distance of more than half an hour by train, to say Mass, preach and catechize, especially to the servants and their families, mainly children. For three days work, the Lady gave him an alms of 1,000 (thousand) pesetas.

In the changes of the Provincial Government for the triennium 1928-1931, he was sent to Requena because the land was better to cure the illness that had afflicted him in Cartagena. In the month of June 1929, he went to Seville to the Mariano Hispano Americano Congress as a representative of the Archófradía de Requena. In 1934, was appointed Consultor 1º and Minister, positions that he had to leave when the community was dissolved on March 23, 1936. At Jativa, the Civil Authorities had closed the house and the school, putting them under the watch of the Civil Guard, but they had left the church open. In order to attend it, Fr. Galipienzo was sent there because he was not well known but residing in the Barona house. As he saw the real danger of desecration of the Holy Eucharist, he took it from the church to the house, placing it in one of the rooms. Shortly after, he had to take refuge in Valencia.


Qualities and Virtues

He had good intellectual qualities and was very hardworking even though his health was average.

An exemplary religious, good minister, he was very good at administering.

Regular doctrine, according to the reports of Fr. Provincial (1929), but the following year qualifies him as a good catechist.

In the letters he wrote to his mother and sister, he always exhorted them to conform to the will of God.


Detention, interrogation, firing … and flight

He had stayed in the house on Calle San Vicente to sleep at night on August 11th, so as to be able to celebrate Mass the next day and then to move to the most secure pension. He ignored what had happened to Father’s Alonso and Gordon. The Porter warned that she saw strange people and that the best thing he could do was to be safe.

As soon as the Porter came down, about five individuals arrived with a car asking about the religious who lived on the second floor and went up. Fr. Galipienzo was called and opened the door. They searched the rooms and arrested him without letting him take anything. They took him in the car to where the Fathers Alonso and Gordon were.

At dusk they gave him dinner, which he hardly tasted. Late in the evening they took him to court. His interrogation was shorter and similar to that of Fr. Alonso. He left calmly and convinced that that night they would be shot. He still had another two hours in jail to prepare for martyrdom. They were hours dedicated to prayer and confession. At 12 midnight, he was taken out with the other two priests and taken by car a few kilometers outside Valencia, to the place of the Palmaret, within the municipality of Alboraya. When disembarking from the car, the three embraced. Fr Galipienzo said:

          O sweet Heart of Mary, be my salvation! Jesus, Joseph and Mary, assist me!

When the machine guns were ready, he said:

          Kill me in the face as you kill these men.

They told him: go ahead, and turned off the spotlight of the car. Then it was the discharge and with instinctive cunning he fell on his face, acting dead, so that the discharge passed over him. For twenty minutes they kept the focus off of him. During that time the Father slipped cautiously on the grass, left some twenty meters, leaned on some canes, went into a cornfield, crossed over a small ditch, climbed a small bank and walked about fifty meters, enough to see what they did without being seen.

After twenty minutes, the executioners turned on the focus of the car and approached the victims. To their surprise, instead of verifying that there were three, they only saw two. One has escaped us, said the one who was watching and they began looking for him. They turned off the spotlight so as not to attract attention. They turned on the hand-held flashlights and began the chase-but in vain.

Fr. Galipienzo, who saw them and perceived their movements, trembled. God wanted them not to see him … They turned off the lights … they paid attention … but he barely breathed, he stayed still, motionless…

Tired of searching, one of the gang said:

Let’s go, it’s already late! … Tomorrow we will return and we will give him what he deserves.

They turned on the spotlight, turned the car, and left.

Fr. Galipienzo spent the night in a constant fright. A strong fever consumed him, but he retained the serenity which at that time freed him from death. Also, at four o’clock in the morning, he saw the car of the doctor and the judge who went to gather the corpses and believed that the militia came for him.

At dawn he sought refuge in the first house he found. This was a bad omen because they rejected him. The owner was Jose Chulia, a Communist, and he reported it to the Committee, which undertook the search. Then he went to another house, which, having the sign Ave María Purísima gave him confidence. A Sister of Charity, sheltered him in the house of her brother, who was in the country. Don Cristóbal Albiach Dolz gave him shelter and sustenance. To avoid compromising more, he hid it in a nearby cornfield, where he was being fed. At night he went to the house and they were reciting the Rosary. Fr Galipienzo told them the vicissitudes and the end of his companions. He gave the landlord 400 pesetas, a hundred for him and three hundred to buy a niche for the fallen priests. Don Cristobal thought it was the personal seal and kept it with a purse and some medals.

Several farmers gave him help for the three days he was there while militants searched the houses. So one hid him in a heap of grass and misled those who persecuted him. When asked if he had seen a man who had escaped them, again he led them in another direction. Fr Galipienzo, realizing the danger, said to Don Cristóbal:

As dangerous as it is to be here, I have thought of returning to Valencia.

Fr Galipienzo wrote a message for Mrs. María Viana, that the good farmers protected him. Between the two, they agreed on how to get the Father out. The woman looked for a pension in the street Serranos, n. 10, where there was already a Carmelite and a Redemptorist. The next day, August 16, he sent his son Amadeo Reinés, to speak to the Father. He showed up in Alboraya and dressed up as fishermen, they set out on the journey to Valencia by taking the train at Benimaclet station. They arrived at dusk and the young man took him to the same boarding house near his home. In this pension he continued to celebrate Mass, which is why he refused to change to another more secure pension, where he wouldn’t be able to celebrate. He preferred to celebrate Mass for his personal safety. And so, at noon on the 18th, he was arrested and taken to the Roteros Street Committee, where he was recognized. Then they took him to the Civil Government, where he found the killers of his companions, who recognized him and one of them sentenced him:

Now you will not escape.


San Miguel de los Reyes Prison

From there they took him to the Central Prison of San Miguel de los Reyes. The Father arrived in an unfortunate state: naked, barefoot and exhausted by fever. There he met Fr. Jorcano, who had been detained since the 12th of that month, and Don Andrés, an intimate friend from Requena, and other young acquaintances of his from Játiva. Between them, they provided clothes for him to wear, which later made possible the recognition of his corpse.

During his stay in prison, in addition to dedicating himself to prayer and preparation for martyrdom, he also had long conversations with other prisoners to whom he narrated his odyssey and his sufferings. The Rev. Juan Bautista Aguilar Roig, who was also caught and placed there, after talking with Fr Galipienzo, was convinced that he was of enormous spiritual courage and great inner life. That’s why they never saw him sad or depressed, even though he was convinced he was going to die. He often said to Father Jorcano:

I am destined for the sacrifice.

Not only this, but he encouraged his companions to have the courage to face death.

On September 1, 1936, at about nine o’clock in the morning, the order came that they should go out on errands. This word had the meaning of being shot. The list consisted of ten names, eight from the town of Carlet (Valencia), Fr Galipienzo and Blessed Alfonso Sebastiá, a young priest in charge of Catholic Action in the Cathedral. When the name of Fr Galipienzo was read, he embraced Fr Jorcano saying:

I am going to be a martyr, tell Father General. We will meet in heaven.

When they were released from prison. They tied the hands of some prisoners, including Fr. Galipienzo. In the car that carried the prisoners the two priests, they gave them absolution and encouraged them to pray. The car took the direction of Paterna, place of numerous executions. When they arrived at the firing range, they got them out of the car, positioning the machine guns and ordered them to walk: Walk!

At that moment two young men of Carlet and Don Alfonso started running cross country. The killers were surprised but soon sent a shower of bullets. Don Alfonso and one of the young men died. The other, José Peiró Linares, escaped alive and could tell all of the events that took place. The other prisoners, who were bound, were shot without mercy shortly afterwards.

Their corpses were unburied until the 3rd. They were all buried in the cemetery of Paterna in a ditch and covered with quicklime.

They were exhumed in the month of July of 1939 and recognized by the clothes. Fr Galipienzo also carried a scapular and the cord of St. Thomas, which allowed him to be identified.